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Bass Boat Clear Coating


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7 replies to this topic

#1 QuantumKid007

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Posted June 01 2011 - 11:56 AM

I have a 1989 Ranger bass boat. Over the years the clear or gel coat has came off. I was wondering what would be the best thing to make my boat sparkle like it used to. B)Could i just wet sand it and spray clear coat on it? Not really sure what would be the best product.

Thanks!,
Allen

#2 GLADES

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Posted June 01 2011 - 12:22 PM

I am in the same boat...so to speak.
I have a 1987 Ranger 373. The top deck is beyond faded and gel coat is pitted and no longer smooth.
It is usually not recommended to clear coat a hull, especially below the water line. The preferred choice is new gel coat, but that is very expensive for a boat that old.
I have researched it, and if you use 1 part Imron, Interlux, or similiar brand clear coatmarine paint, you can expect a decent finish using the tip and roll method. Or you can spray it with proper respiratory protection. (Do not spray if you do not know hat you are doing. You can permanently damage your lungs). It will make it look better, but not new like new gel coat. It should last 5 years before peeling if you prepare the surfaces excellent.
I am no expert, but this sums up what I have learned from the internet forums.

#3 Fishing Rhino

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Posted June 01 2011 - 08:00 PM

Do not sand (wet or dry) the gel coat. If you go too far, which is likely, those red, blue, green, gold, or whatever color sparkles will become silver. Colored Metalflake is only coated with the color. Cut into it by sanding and you end up with silver.

Having said that, the proper way to gelcoat any boat is to first apply a Marine clear coat to the mold, then the flake in a clear coat, and then the base color. The marine clear has ultra-violet inhibitors in it to help reduce the effects of sunlight's uv rays on the colored gel coat. But, with enough exposure, the sun will damage the finish. That is why it's imperative to keep a fiberglass bass boat under cover when not being used. It can be a garage, a canopy, or a boat cover.

Check with the manufacturer regarding the clear gel coat. If it has been cleared, you can do some very light wet sanding with very fine paper, such as 1200 grit, followed by buffing. After that, apply a cleaner glaze which will fill microscopic pores and cracks, then apply a quality UV protective finish.

Solid colors can be buffed back to a shine provided the gel coat is thick enough. Metalflake finishes are a whole 'nother animal.

Clear coating might bring back much of the shine. To get an idea, put a film of water on an area. If it still looks cloudy or dull, it will take more than clear coating to restore the finish to its former glory.

A word to the wise. Be sure to protect the glossy finish on your fiberglass boats with finishes that block UV rays. Carnauba wax is a very effective UV blocker. Still, nothing beats keeping the boat out of the sunlight when it's not being used.
Regards, Tom

#4 Sfritr

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Posted June 02 2011 - 06:38 AM

Have you entertained the idea of having your boat wrapped????
It can be done for anywhere from 1000 to $3000 and will last around 1-3 years with care.

#5 GLADES

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Posted June 02 2011 - 08:51 AM

Do not sand (wet or dry) the gel coat. If you go too far, which is likely, those red, blue, green, gold, or whatever color sparkles will become silver. Colored Metalflake is only coated with the color. Cut into it by sanding and you end up with silver.

Having said that, the proper way to gelcoat any boat is to first apply a Marine clear coat to the mold, then the flake in a clear coat, and then the base color. The marine clear has ultra-violet inhibitors in it to help reduce the effects of sunlight's uv rays on the colored gel coat. But, with enough exposure, the sun will damage the finish. That is why it's imperative to keep a fiberglass bass boat under cover when not being used. It can be a garage, a canopy, or a boat cover.

Check with the manufacturer regarding the clear gel coat. If it has been cleared, you can do some very light wet sanding with very fine paper, such as 1200 grit, followed by buffing. After that, apply a cleaner glaze which will fill microscopic pores and cracks, then apply a quality UV protective finish.

Solid colors can be buffed back to a shine provided the gel coat is thick enough. Metalflake finishes are a whole 'nother animal.

Clear coating might bring back much of the shine. To get an idea, put a film of water on an area. If it still looks cloudy or dull, it will take more than clear coating to restore the finish to its former glory.

A word to the wise. Be sure to protect the glossy finish on your fiberglass boats with finishes that block UV rays. Carnauba wax is a very effective UV blocker. Still, nothing beats keeping the boat out of the sunlight when it's not being used.



Thanks for the information. Is it possible to add glitter to the clear coat if certain sections can be taped off? Then apply another coat of clear? The sparkles in some areas of my hull are already silver. The primary top coat color is metal flake gold, with metal flake magenta pin stripes, and non flake brown. Under the rub rail, the hull is gloss off white. I am just thinking about spraying the gold, magenta, and brown areas.

#6 Fishing Rhino

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Posted June 02 2011 - 10:22 AM

Thanks for the information. Is it possible to add glitter to the clear coat if certain sections can be taped off? Then apply another coat of clear? The sparkles in some areas of my hull are already silver. The primary top coat color is metal flake gold, with metal flake magenta pin stripes, and non flake brown. Under the rub rail, the hull is gloss off white. I am just thinking about spraying the gold, magenta, and brown areas.


The only way to repair a section of gel coat is to remove the bad section, not to merely cover it up. It can be done with a tool like a router, where you remove the gel coat to the base color. Next, you'd have to apply a fresh coat of the base gel coat, then apply the clear with the proper flake,color and size. Easier said than done, since you need the same concentration of flake to match the rest of the boat, particularly the area surrounding the repair. Then you need to apply the clear.

Gel coat does not go on like paint. It is thicker and prone to very bad orange peel. This is of no consequence when laying up a panel, since the finish coat is sprayed onto a mold, followed by the flake and then the clear. The finished side is as smooth and glossy as the mold. The orange peel is not seen.

There is another problem, and I don't have a clue as to how it could be camoflaged. You'll have a distinct edge between the repair and the original, resulting in a "line" between the original finish and the repaired section.

My guess is it would cost big, big bucks to get it repaired by a competent person, assuming you could find one. Call the manufacturer, tell them what you want to do, and see if they perchance could refer you to someone in your area who handles their repairs.

I'm not keen on wraps. Three thousand dollars for a wrap that will last maybe three years, according to a prior post? That's a thousand dollars per year.

Your best bet is to clean it up as best you can. You won't catch one fish less than you would if it were a glittering beauty. Save the money you'd spend on repairs, or the thou per year for a wrap, maintain the boat religiously, to keep its value as high as possible, and in a few years, take the money you'd have spent on gel coat repairs or a wrap, sell the boat, combine that money, and find something more to your liking.
Regards, Tom

#7 GLADES

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Posted June 03 2011 - 10:07 AM

The only way to repair a section of gel coat is to remove the bad section, not to merely cover it up. It can be done with a tool like a router, where you remove the gel coat to the base color. Next, you'd have to apply a fresh coat of the base gel coat, then apply the clear with the proper flake,color and size. Easier said than done, since you need the same concentration of flake to match the rest of the boat, particularly the area surrounding the repair. Then you need to apply the clear.

Gel coat does not go on like paint. It is thicker and prone to very bad orange peel. This is of no consequence when laying up a panel, since the finish coat is sprayed onto a mold, followed by the flake and then the clear. The finished side is as smooth and glossy as the mold. The orange peel is not seen.

There is another problem, and I don't have a clue as to how it could be camoflaged. You'll have a distinct edge between the repair and the original, resulting in a "line" between the original finish and the repaired section.

My guess is it would cost big, big bucks to get it repaired by a competent person, assuming you could find one. Call the manufacturer, tell them what you want to do, and see if they perchance could refer you to someone in your area who handles their repairs.

I'm not keen on wraps. Three thousand dollars for a wrap that will last maybe three years, according to a prior post? That's a thousand dollars per year.

Your best bet is to clean it up as best you can. You won't catch one fish less than you would if it were a glittering beauty. Save the money you'd spend on repairs, or the thou per year for a wrap, maintain the boat religiously, to keep its value as high as possible, and in a few years, take the money you'd have spent on gel coat repairs or a wrap, sell the boat, combine that money, and find something more to your liking.



That is the best advice.

#8 QuantumKid007

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Posted June 03 2011 - 10:13 AM

That helps a lot i thank you all for giving me advise! ive been thinking about just wrapping it for now but we will see! haha i dont wanna put to much money in an older boat and then sell it in a couple of years.